Parents' Guide to

The Accident Season

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Haunting, beautiful tale of love, pain, and secrets.

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Kids say (2 ):

Love, pain, secrets, and maybe even ghosts roil under the surface of this excellent debut coming-of-age novel. Author Moïra Fowley-Doyle incorporates elements of classic Irish ghost tales into her story of Cara's family's dangerous "accident season" each October. In facing danger after danger, the kids and their friend Bea grow and open up to one another in gripping and emotional ways. The story has a mystical, fantastical quality, but the emotional impact is genuine. Fowley-Doyle's writing is lyrical and beautiful. The teen characters are wonderfully drawn individuals who feel like real people and not the teen stereotypes that populate so many YA novels. In much of the book, the reader is confronted with situations that could be the imaginings of kids with active and creative minds or could be the result of something otherworldly, an approach that works to heighten the story's tension.

The first third of the book is slow in gaining traction. Characters keep getting hurt, which is supposed to make the reader feel a looming malevolence over the family, but it doesn't ring true initially. Also, the vague notion of family secrets is mentioned frequently early in the book, but they don't come into play until closer to the end. Merely mentioning the idea of "secrets" doesn't build tension or intrigue. Dropping more hints earlier as to what these secrets are would have made the earlier chapters more compelling.

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